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Qasimi: Room 702

For Qasimi’s AW17 collection, designer Khalid Al Qasimi was inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Bed In’ protest that took place in Room 702 at Amsterdam’s Hilton Hotel (and from which the collection gets its name). The concept, developed from the previous sit-ins, brought protest into the home and blurred the lines of internal and external.Qasimi’s new collection takes this concept and runs with it; mixing military sartorialism and fluid loungewear, the clothes have a utilitarian and raw construction whilst the soft, natural fabrics used have a protective appeal.A semi replica of the war zone T-shirt worn by journalists during the 1982 Lebanon War with Israel, the collection’s “Don’t Shoot” tee in particular is a piece that embodies silent protest. It serves as a stark reminder of our not-too-distant history as well as a statement on our current political climate, of conflict, of militarised police and protest, this time geared up by social media. The way in which people protest has changed since John and Yoko sat in that bed in that hotel suite, but is a hashtag the future of social change? We asked Khalid.
What was it specifically about the Bed In protest that inspired you?
The notion of being able to protest from your bedroom as John and Yoko Ono organised in 1969, feels rather current, in that people are now still able to do so through social media channels.
And talk to us about your role, as a designer, in the current political climate.
I feel it’s important to discuss political issues, especially when coming from the Middle East. I use fashion as a medium to have a discourse and exchange points of view. I always reference the Middle East alongside other inspirations, be it politics, architecture or contemporary art.
The way in which people protest has changed so much from 1969, most notably with the rise of social media, as you mentioned. What’s your take on it as a platform for protest?
Social media has completely changed the way in which people discover or exchange information, it has even gone as far as to topple governments. The best example of this would be the Arab Spring, when the protests and riots were organised through Twitter and gave way to a new voice for the people.
In terms of your collection, how do you hope to explore this further?
With every collection it is important for me to discuss or reference current situations, in order to bring these issues to the forefront.


Rebecca Sander

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  • Freelance writer/illustrator

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